Friday, October 23, 2009

One Tin Soldier

I never saw the original Billy Jack, yet few movies have ever had as much influence on my youth ministry career.  The big song from that movie was One Tin Soldier, written by Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter and performed by Coven.   We sang it at camp when I was a camper, and continued to sing it off and on my first few years on the Quaker Lake Camp staff.  We sang it so much, in fact, that we got sick of it. In fact, like many great youth group songs, it at some point made it to the Youth Group Jukebox of Cheese (Songs that are cheesy, but as some point became popular with a group).  But you can't keep a good song down, and it would make comebacks during my time at Springfield Friends Meeting, and, after another hiatus, at First UMC-Kissimmee.  The reasons it kept coming back are simple; it has a wonderfully catchy melody and a message that resonates with students in our world- peace and brotherhood.  And it hits the nail on the head on the number one reason for violence in our world- greed.  I offer this thought:  the arrival of the Christ-child was heralded by angels singing "Peace on earth; good will to all people."  Why, then, do we still have war, famine and injustice?  A bumper sticker says it all:  Know Jesus, Know Peace;  No Jesus, No Peace.  Here is One Tin Soldier.

Listen children to a story that was written long ago
about a kingdom on a mountain and the valley folks below
On the mountain was a treasure buried deep beneath the stone
and the valley people swore they'd have it for their very own

So go ahead and hate your neighbor, go ahead and cheat a friend
Do it in the name of Heaven you can justify it in the end
There won't be any trumpets blowing, come the judgement day
On the bloody morning after....One tin soldier rides away

So the the people of the valley sent a message up the hill
asking for the buried treasure, tons of gold for which they'd kill
Came an answer from the mountain with our brothers we will share
all the secrets of our mountain, all the riches buried there


Now the valley cried with anger "Mount your horses!  Draw your swords!"
So they killed the mountain people and they won their just rewards
Now they stood beside the treasure on the mountain, dark and red
Turned the stone and looked beneath it...
Peace on earth, was all it said.

All of our armies and weapons and technology and fear have not made the world a safer place.  "Why don't you look into know He's got the answers...     -Larry Norman

1 comment:

  1. For all those years in Quaker youth ministry, surely Angel and the Badman must be the most influential movie ;)


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